Jack Wilshere and Jordan Henderson have both expressed their confidence of proving their full fitness ahead of England’s Euro 2016 campaign.
The midfield pair featured in Sunday’s 2-1 friendly victory over Turkey at the Etihad Stadium, with Wilshere playing 66 minutes before being replaced by Henderson for the remainder of the game.
Wilshere and Henderson have endured injury-ravaged seasons, but with England manager Roy Hodgson naming an initial 26-man squad to begin his Euro preparations, both still have time to earn places in the final 23.
Wilshere’s start in Manchester was only his second of the campaign for club or country after fracturing his fibula during Arsenal’s pre-season programme last summer.
The 24-year-old said: “It felt good to be back. It’s a special feeling and I’m happy.
“There’s a lot of players I haven’t played with before. It’s a different team – a good team, a hungry team – and it felt good to be involved in it.
“I feel I am ready for 90 minutes now, I wouldn’t be here otherwise. I have played a few games now and I think the next step for me is 90 minutes. As each game goes on I feel better and better.
“Medically I’m fine now. I have been training for five or six weeks. Maybe I need that five or 10 per cent of match-fitness but we’ve got two more games (friendlies) and hopefully I can get that.”
Henderson feeling good
Liverpool captain Henderson had his season interrupted at various stages by a heel problem, a broken foot and a knee injury, starting just 23 of the Reds’ 63 matches in all competitions.
He returned after a five-week lay-off to feature in their final Premier League game of the season and was then an unused substitute in the Europa League final last week.
Henderson, 25, said: “I feel good at the moment. I still need a few weeks’ training under my belt, and a few games hopefully, and if I come through that hopefully it will be a good step.
“I need to prove my fitness, but I am confident. I trained towards the end of the season at Liverpool. I played 25 minutes at West Brom and 25 here. I’m getting minutes and training has been good.
“Hopefully I can just keep building on that and I’m in a good place and refreshed for the Euros and the summer.
“It has probably been my hardest season personally, with everything that has gone on, and the injuries I’ve had as well have not been great ones.
“But you are going to have times like this in your career and you have to deal with it as best as you can, stay mentally strong, work hard. Hopefully I can stay injury-free now and continue to play football to the level I know I can.”